The world number one started his tournament yesterday with a 6-3 7-5 6-4 win over Florian Meyer to move into the second round.
He will not be joined by fellow big name Rafael Nadal, with the 12-time grand slam winner having been knocked out yesterday. The Spaniard’s loss to Steve Darcis merely served to remind Djokovic of the dangers out there and he is doing his best to avoid.
“In the opening rounds it’s obviously very dangerous for the top players because on the other side is someone with nothing to lose,” he said.
“You cannot take anything for granted. You have to be grateful for being in this position, work even harder and stay there.”
Djokovic is the top seed in London and the highest player he could possibly meet before the final is David Ferrer. The fourth-seeded Spaniard was crushed by Nadal in the French Open final but is becoming a real presence at the business end of tournaments and launched what he hopes will be a long run today with a four-set win over Martin Alund.
The dark horse of the draw could be the 2009 US Open winner Juan Martin del Potro. The Argentinian has suffered terribly with injuries and form since that Flushing Meadows success, but looked arguably as good as he has done in four years as he brushed past Albert Ramos 6-2 7-5 6-1.
“The level is high and all the top four or five can be beaten, they can lose to everybody. I have to do my own draw and go match by match and see if I can go far,” Del Potro said.
The 2010 runner-up, Tomas Berdych, also got through in three against Martin Klizan, while the man dubbed ’Baby Fed’, Grigor Dimitrov, did the same. The Bulgarian, believed to be dating Maria Sharapova, beat Simone Bolelli and then declared he was ready to shed his nickname. “I think that is very old now,” he said. “I am here to be known as Grigor Dimitrov.”
Thirty-five-year-old Tommy Haas showed why he is so well regarded as he beat Dmitry Tursunov 6-3 7-5 7-5, while there were wins for Richard Gasquet against Marcel Granollers and Feliciano Lopez over Gilles Simon.
Meanwhile Serena Williams won the first match of her Wimbledon defence with consummate ease against Mandy Minella. A five-time champion, the American dominated from the outset and romped to a 6-1 6-3 victory in 57 minutes.
Williams now faces a second round tie against France’s Caroline Garcia, who beat Jie Zheng 6-3 6-4.
Sixth seed Li Na secured safe progression to the second round after beating Michaella Krajicek 6-1 6-1, while 11th seed Roberta Vinci won to set-up a clash with Jana Cepelova.
Alexandra Cadantu overcame 28th seed Tamira Paszek and will now face Kimiko Date-Krumm, who, aged 42 and 270 days, defied her years once again as she took just 44 minutes to beat Carina Witthoeft.
At the other end of the scale, 18-year-old American Madison Keys defeated home favourite Heather Watson 6-3 7-5.
2011 US Open champion Samantha Stosur eased past Anna Schmiedlova, while there were also wins today for Olga Puchkova, Mona Barthel and Simona Halep.
Marina Erakovic faces Shuai Peng in the second round after both secured wins, while Romania’s Simona Halep is also through.
Today Andy Murray will play on Court One at Wimbledon when the British number one takes on Lu Yen-hsun.
Centre Court spectators will see Jo-Wilfried Tsonga take on big-hitting Ernests Gulbis.
Defending men’s champion Roger Federer is last on court against Ukraine’s Sergiy Stakhovsky.